The Seahawks and Texans exchanged leads seven times as Seattle ultimately pulled away in the final minute to secure a 41-38 victory over Houston and notch their fourth-straight win of the year. Here's what we thought.
It was a close one, and a wildly entertaining back-and-forth game that felt like a 10-round prizefight between two well-matched opponents. But ultimately, Seattle outlasted the Houston Texans to win 41-38.
Here are three impressions from the game.
1. Well played, rookie QB
In time, rookie Deshaun Watson will be a very good quarterback, one the Texans can build a franchise around.
Watson has the cannon arm, the instincts and the Russell Wilson-esque elusiveness to make plays with his feet when everything breaks down. Consequently, Watson led the Texans on scoring drives of 75, 82, 84, 63, 71 and 75 yards, showed off his excellent ball placement, extended several plays with troublesome scrambles, and forced the Seahawks’ defense to account of his athleticism on every down.
For instance, on Houston’s first scoring driving of the fourth quarter, Watson pump faked, looked left, then scramble right, and hit Will Fuller deep for a 36-yard gain. That set up the eye-popping play he made two plays later, when he somehow evaded Marcus Smith, then, with Smith hanging on to his leg, hit Lamar Miller in the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown.
Watson finished 19 of 30 for 402 yards, with four touchdowns. But he also had three interceptions that proved costly. His first pick came when Earl Thomas jumped a route and returned the interception 78 yards for the Seahawks’ first touchdown.
Then, in the third quarter, Richard Sherman intercepted Watson on an ill-advised throw into traffic. The turnover led to the second of two 21-yard Blair Walsh field goals that gave Seattle its first lead of the game at the end of the third quarter.
Watson’s third interception came with seven seconds left, when the Texans were down 41-31 and pressing. It also landed in Sherman’s hands.
2. Seattle is winning games with a one-dimensional offense
Once again, Seattle’s ground game was inexistent on Sunday.
The Seahawks entered the game ranked 23rd in the NFL with 650 rushing yards on the season, and a 108.3 yards per game average.
Of those 650 rushing yards, 208 belong to Chris Carson, who’s on injured reserve with a broken leg, and 164 have come courtesy of quarterback Russell Wilson. On Sunday, Wilson was once again Seattle’s leading rusher, with 30 yards on four attempts.
Seattle attempted 21 total rushes against the Texans, and gained 33 yards – 30 of which came from Wilson. That’s one yard for Seattle’s running backs combined. J.D. McKissic was the best of the bunch, carrying four times for six yards. Eddie Lacy was ineffective, tallying six carries for zero yards. Thomas Rawls was the worst of the bunch, rushing 6 times for -1 yards, with a costly chop block penalty in the fourth quarter that negated a Paul Richardson touchdown reception. Receiver Tyler Lockett had one carry for -2 yards.
Quarterback Russell Wilson was Seattle’s biggest running threat, and his longest rushing gain of the afternoon came on an incredible 21-yard pickup in the fourth quarter that saw him outrun the entire Houston defense and finish with a stiff arm of cornerback Marcus Williams.
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Wilson followed that play by throwing an interception to Williams to put an end to a promising offensive drive.
3. Seattle got some big contributions from little-used offensive players
With no running game so to speak of, the Seahawks had to get creative on offense.
Receiver Tanner McEvoy had no receptions going into Sunday’s game. He finished with one very important catch.
But with Seattle trailing Houston in the second quarter, McEvoy corralled a 53-yard pass from Wilson on second-and-eight to make it first-and-goal from the 7, and set up the second of Paul Richardson’s two touchdown receptions.
Fullback Tre Madden had caught one pass for -1 yards all year. In the third quarter, with Houston up 24-21, and Seattle on its own 22-yard line, Wilson connected with Madden up the middle and the fullback did the rest, catching the ball at his own 40 and taking it 66 yards to the Houston 12-yard line.
That big play helped set the stage for Walsh to hit a 21-yard field goal and tie things up at 24.
Bob Condotta breaks down the Seahawks’ 41-38 win over Houston